Osgoode Hall Law Journal 42 (4):625-660 (2004)

Lucinda Ann Vandervort Brettler
University of Saskatchewan
The exculpatory rhetorical power of the term “honest belief” continues to invite reliance on the bare credibility of belief in consent to determine culpability in sexual assault. In law, however, only a comprehensive analysis of mens rea, including an examination of the material facts and circumstances of which the accused was aware, demonstrates whether a “belief” in consent was or was not reckless or wilfully blind. An accused's “honest belief” routinely begs this question, leading to a truncated analysis of criminal responsibility, and error. The problem illustrates how easily old rhetoric perpetuates assumptions that no longer have a place in Canadian law.
Keywords sexual assault  consent  rhetoric  honest belief  criminal responsibility  willful blindness  recklessness  mens rea  law  credibility
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Mistake of Law and Sexual Assault: Consent and Mens Rea.Lucinda Vandervort - 1987-1988 - Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 2 (2):233-309.

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